What is it like to live in Hayward Hills or Castro Valley?

Asked by Erica Ng Hoversten, Pleasanton, CA Sun Oct 7, 2012

Im looking for anyone's view on living in either one of these areas.

We are looking to move to the east bay from Connecticut. We hope to find an area/neighborhood that will give us a view, quiet and within a 30-40 min commute to south Fremont. The house itself is not a main concern, but we are looking in the price range of $500-850K. We want to narrow to an area that offers those criteria as well as in a vibrant and growing town.

We also look into Pleasanton and San Ramon, but i think they are just a bit too far to head into SF or even to SFO as my husband would need to fly quite frequently.

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The Medford Team’s answer
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Oct 8, 2012
Q: What is it like to live in Hayward Hills or Castro Valley?
A: The Hayward Hills are mixture of old and new, large and small. Many of the homes come with spectacular vistas of the surrounding area. If you go all the way to the top to Stonebrae, you can get views, a championship golf course, gated community and … fog. It’s really a bit like being on Scotland – all that’s missing is the heather and the bogs.

Click here for a live feed from Stonebrae’s webcam:
http://video.stonebrae.com/liveview/viewer?id=screen2

As you come down the hills a bit from the top, the weather improves and there are some very nice homes that would fit your budget. There are actually a few neighborhoods VERY reminiscent of Tuscany. One thing to keep in mind: here in the Bay Area, the hills look spectacular in the winter – they are verdant and lush … and totally the opposite in the summer months. At least the hills on the Pleasanton side have large amounts of trees which substantially improve the view during the summer months.

There are also a couple of problems that have to be factored in if you are seriously considering the Hayward Hills:

1. Commute: There are only two primary access points to the Hayward Hills – both are very congested during peak hours and both feature LONG drives to get up into the hills – if commute times are an issue or convenient accessibility, be forewarned. In addition, it’s a long way down to shopping of any kind, including groceries.
2. Schools: Definitely not one of Hayward’s strong points … although much of the Hayward Hills is actually not the City of Hayward proper (it’s actually unincorporated Fairview and part of the County of Alameda, not the incorporated City), with a few minor exceptions, children would attend Hayward Public Schools. You can check the following link for school scores for all of Alameda County – scroll down to Hayward:

2011 - 12 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) – Alameda County
http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/Acnt2012/2011Base_Co.aspx?cYe…

Castro Valley itself is an older community lacking a vibrant downtown such as Pleasanton. It’s also unincorporated and is a part of the county like Fairview. However, the city is working hard to improve things. You have to be careful in Castro Valley when looking at location: it is serviced by three separate school districts. Only the Castro Valley Unified district proper has the good scores.

Here is a link to Castro Valley Unified school boundaries:
http://www.cv.k12.ca.us/our-schools/boundary-maps

As you move out from the downtown core, you get into the surrounding hills and properties with views. If you are on the far west of Castro Valley, the hills boast views of the San Francisco Bay. Once you cross the first row of hills, the views focus in towards the valley. If you get up into Palomares Hills and Five Canyons areas on the far east of Castro Valley, you once again find views looking towards the Bay. You will also find the newer homes and better schools.

Q: We are looking to move to the east bay from Connecticut. We hope to find an area/neighborhood that will give us a view, quiet and within a 30-40 min commute to south Fremont.
A: In rush hour, the I-880 can get very congested and the normal trip from downtown Castro Valley to South Fremont (30 minutes) can easily take an hour. If you are in Palomares add 10 minutes, 5 minutes for Five Canyons.

As for the Hayward hills, the “normal” commute down from the hills to South Fremont is normally approximately 35 minutes – in heavy traffic, it can also easily more than double – you have to go through the most congested parts of the city to get to the freeways.

Q: The house itself is not a main concern, but we are looking in the price range of $500-850K. We want to narrow to an area that offers those criteria as well as in a vibrant and growing town.
A: While this will put you into a nice home in Castro Valley or the Hayward Hills, I would also take a serious look at Fremont – you can also get some nice homes in Fremont in that price range AND your commute would be also nonexistent. It’s also dead center between the San Jose and Oakland airports (20 min. each way) and only 30-35 minutes to SFO. If you choose Fremont, you are also only about 20-25 minutes from the Peninsula – we love going over to Palo Alto and Menlo Park – both have wonderful downtown areas with great restaurants, shopping and more.

Q: We also look into Pleasanton and San Ramon, but i think they are just a bit too far to head into SF or even to SFO as my husband would need to fly quite frequently.
A: Agree – if quality of life is an issue, don’t choose a long commute.
1 vote
Carl, Thank you so much for your informative answer. We might have to look at Fremont again. Like you said, we love Palo Alto and Menlo Park and have all our friends and family living in the peninsula.
Flag Mon Oct 8, 2012
Meena Gujral, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Sun Oct 7, 2012
BEST ANSWER
Hello Erica,

If you have kids and need areas of good schools, then your choices are Pleasanton, San Ramon, Castro Valley and Fremont.

As far as being close to SFO, Fremont (Zip Code 94555) and Castro Valley are better choices since they are close to the Dumbarton and San Mateo Bridges respectively.

I used to live in Castro Valley for several years and it is a great city.The weather is good and there is plenty of family orientated events going on in the city. In your price range, you can focus on Palomares Hills and Five Canyons. We lived in Five Canyons and the homes there wer built built between 1995-2001.My children went to the schools in Castro Valley and we were very happy with the schools.

If you need any more information about any of these cities mentioned above, I would be happy to answer your questions.

Meena Gujral
Achievers Realty
925-425-9491
http://www.helpusellachievers.com
0 votes
Hello Meena,
Thank you for the answer. It's very helpful. We know a bit about Pleasanton, San Ramon and Fremont, so it's nice to hear the positive aspects about Castro Valley. Are there any areas/neighborhood that we should NOT look at in Castro Valley? We're doing some online searches now so we'll look into Palomares Hills and Five Canyons as you suggested.
Flag Sun Oct 7, 2012
Meena Gujral, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Mon Sep 18, 2017
Hello Erica,

I used to live in Castro Valley in the Five Canyons neighborhood built by Centex for several years. I can tell you that it is a very good neighborhood as is Palomares Hills built by Shapel Homes. The schools are excellent in most of Castro Valley, but the schools in Hayward are not that great although you the homes in Hayward Hills including Stonebrae, Bailey Ranch are beautiful. You certainly have views from homes in both Castro Valley and Hayward especially the neighborhoods I have mentioned above.

We later moved to Pleasanton and I can assure you that Pleasanton is also a very beautiful City with so much going on in downtown with awesome restaurants, farmers market, shopping, etc. The Alameda Fairgrounds is in Pleasanton and we look forward to the happenings there.

I would be happy to help you find a home with a view if you are still in the market.
By the way I just realized after finishing this answer that I had already answered your question in 2012. As you can see, I talked about Castro Valley but have since moved to Pleasanton.

Meena Gujral
Help-U-Sell Achievers Realty
925-425-9491
510-427-7992
BRE#00950378
http://www.helpusellachievers.com
0 votes
Patricia Woo…, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Sun Mar 27, 2016
Hi Erica,

I have lived in both Hayward and Castro Valley. In Castro Valley I lived in the Five Canyons Abbywood subdivision which is newer homes withing your price range. There is a neighborhood watch and Five Canyons is a very good place to live. Also, the nice areas of Hayward are the Hayward Highlands and areas of Hayward near Five Canyons Castro Valley.

Please contact me for more information about these areas.
visit my website http://www.bayeastrealtor.com or email me at patricia.woods@cbnorcal.com

Thanks,
Patricia
0 votes
Danielle Keil, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Sun Oct 7, 2012
Hello Erica,
Castro Valley and Hayward Hills have pockets of beautiful areas that I am sure would more than satisfy you and your husband. Both places have homes with views in your price range.
I currently live in Castro Valley for the past 9 years and love the small town feeling. We do have lots of activities too. If you are active, there is Lake Chabot where you can go boating and hiking. Also, the downtown is being renovated and should be completed in November 2012. If you would like a tour of the area, please call me.

Best of luck with your move.

Danielle Keil
Coldwell Banker
510-381-7451
GotYourKeys.com
CA DRE # 01280917
0 votes
I have a question here and if somebody can clarify, it would be much helpful. I want to know if five canyons also falls in Hayward hills and whether the schools fall in Castro Valley, since Hayward Schools are sub standard, so I want to ensure I get a good school if I move to Hayward hills.
Thanks and appreciate if any body can help
Regards
Sunil
Flag Mon Mar 10, 2014
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